It is Winter January 1959 -30 degrees Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit), The Ural Mountains deep in the heart of Mother Russia, which was then the Soviet Union. It is the height of the Cold War and the threat of Nuclear Holocaust is ever present on the world's minds. There is a blizzard roaring on Mount Kholat Syakhl , Now an aside about the Mountain. There is a local legend from the local indigenous people The Mansi, which has been handed down as a warning from generation to generation. It is perhaps chilling that the name Mount Kholat Syakhl, translates to English as the "Mountain of the Dead". As the legend goes, during a hunting excursion, 9 Mansi hunters decided it was in their best interests to make camp and stay overnight on this location due to a blizzard that came up out of nowhere. A situation that remains to today. The following day, all nine were found dead. None showed any signs of trauma. Their deaths unexplained. Consequently the mountain became regarded as cursed and the Mansi avoid it.
10 hikers make their way onto Mount Kholat Syakhl on what was supposed to be a fun filled trip. A day into the excursion, one of the members took ill and decided to return home. The remaining nine continued.
Up to 28 January 1959, everything can be independently verified about the Group's journey. Beyond that date and despite the presence of a Group diary and photographs, nothing can be verified.
When search parties found their tent, they saw that the side of the tent had been slashed and footsteps led away from it in deep snow. All of their belongings had been left, indicating a hasty escape from the tent. The first bodies were found to have died of hypothermia. The remaining bodies were found weeks later and were found to have no external marks, but internal injuries. One of the two females in the group was found to have her tongue missing. And radiation was detected on clothes.
There appeared to be no rational explanation for the circumstances of their deaths. The final report ultimately blamed the deaths on and I quote: "An unknown compelling force which the hikers were unable to overcome".
Fast forward 57 years to again January, just last year at this very time once again, 2016 and the body of a lone 50 years old man is discovered by another group of tourists. This time it was called in via satellite phone. Now why a body left alone remains a mystery, as does it all.
Keith McCloskey Official Website